English and drama

Special Author: William Blake

Module code: Q3197
Level 6
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

As one of the most idiosyncratic writers and artists in British history William Blake has had an outstanding influence on global creative cultures today. In this module you'll read many of Blake's illuminated books learning about their experimental material form and how they emerged from the literary and visual cultures of late 18th century London. You'll have the chance to examine Blake's original illuminations in the British Museum.

We consider the creative contributions made by Catherine Blake (married to William) and the challenges to researchers of interpreting this collaboration. In the second half of the module we discuss the reception of Blake, exploring his influence on later writers and artists from popular culture to experimental literature. This is likely to include poetry by Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg and Iain Sinclair, fiction by Philip Pullman, Alastair Gray and Angela Carter, a film directed by Jim Jarmusch and a graphic novel by Alan Moore. There will be a writing workshop in which you are invited to explore creative reception in practice (a creative-critical option will allow those who wish to develop this in the mid-term assessment).

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand the formal and generic developments of a named author's work.
  • Understand how the work has been shaped by the social, historical and intellectual contexts in which it was produced.
  • Through critical analysis of a range of the author¿s writing over his/her career, demonstrate an understanding of how his/her literary reputation was established and has been maintained.
  • Organise complex material into an essay that illustrates independent research.